Iraq: US-Kurdish tandem, disputed lands and strength of PMF

Iraq: US-Kurdish tandem, disputed lands and strength of PMF

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

Along with support of the Kurdish forces - SDF/PYD/YPG - in Syria, the US, in its plans to redraw the map of the region at the junction of the four Middle East countries, in recent months has increased its activity in Iraq, solving two tasks in parallel: to strengthen the position of its ally Erbil, and minimize the influence of its enemy Iran.

While the Kurds of Syria are being supported to establish an Iraqi-type autonomy, in Iraqi Kurdistan, Washington will have to make the most powerful Kurdish parties to bridge their differences and unite (without this condition nothing would be possible to do), and partially or fully transfer the oil of Kirkuk under the control of Erbil to create the economic foundations for a future state.

And here it is - the two ruling parties of the Kurdistan region – the eternal rivals for leadership in the Kurdish issue - intend to sign a four-year agreement, outlining the main political positions in an effort to stabilize Kurdistan and strengthen its position in the region.

The main points of the agreement between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP), according to regional media, include issues of joint management, decision-making, relations with Baghdad, Kirkuk and disputed territories, as well as relations with neighboring countries, especially Iran and Turkey.

“We shouldn’t have two policies: the policy of KDP towards Iran and the policy of PUK towards Iran. We don’t want to have two policies - the policy of PUK towards Turkey and the policy of KDP towards Turkey,” said one of the leaders of PUK to Rudaw information agency.

“If, based on this understanding, we can figure out a common view on these issues, we will have the opportunity to play bigger role in the region,” he said.

Exciting developments are also happening around Kirkuk. Both the US and the Federal government in Baghdad are trying to change the military balance of power in the disputed province.

The US has developed a new security framework for the disputed province of Kirkuk, said last week a source who wished to remain anonymous. He told Kurdish news source BasNews that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad held a meeting with representatives of ethnic communities in Kirkuk to discuss the matter.

The key identity of this framework will be involvement of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces into the process of provision of security in the province and their deployment around the city together with the Iraqi army.

Almost the same day, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi ordered the withdrawal of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service forces, which were created and trained by the US, from Kirkuk, replacing it with the 61st Brigade of the Iraqi army.

It is worth of noting that a strong anti-sectarian culture and non-involvement into political matters are key characteristics of Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service forces.

Press center of the Joint Operations Command said in a statement that the brigade sent to Kirkuk as a replacement is not part of the Presidential Guard, which consists mainly of Kurds and Peshmerga.

Thus, the Kurdish forces with the assistance of the United States may reappear in the disputed province after they were ousted from there by the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in October 2017.

Kirkuk with its oil fields will be of key importance for independence of Iraqi Kurdistan as it provides almost half of the revenues of the autonomy. But Baghdad, too, does not want to give up such a tasty morsel.

However, the issue of disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil, which will determine who will control Kirkuki oil, is a kind of a time bomb. It is not for nothing that the parties have several times postponed the decision on the status of the disputed territories.

The severity of the problem became evident when PUK has recently raised the Kurdish flags over its headquarters in Kirkuk, causing tensions between the Kurds and other ethnic groups in the multinational city, as well as between the Kurdish Autonomy and Baghdad, right up to the Iraqi army threatening to use force.

In such situation, it is very important what forces will physically control the disputed territories at the time when their ownership will be defined by political or other means.

Baghdad feels a threat posed by the tandem of Americans with the Kurds, and decided to take counter measures.

A few days ago, Sairoon Parliamentary Bloc submitted a bill to the Iraqi Parliament named “Law against Foreign Military Deployments in Iraq” that would require all foreign military personnel to leave the country, Anadolu Agency reported. If passed, the bill would require all foreign military deployments — including troops and advisers — to leave the country within one year after its ratification.

Without the American support, it will be hard for the Kurds to speak with Baghdad on an equal footing.

As for curbing Iranian influence, there still remains an armed neutrality between the Americans and Iran-empowered PMF. The danger of PMF for the Americans is not only that it is an organization created by the sectarian principle, and not so much that they got a good combat experience in the fight against the IS, but that the PMF is legitimate and integrated into the structure of the Iraqi security forces.

The Americans can do nothing about PMF unless they decide to play hardball.

For instance, the United States told Baghdad that it would not interfere if Israel attacks Iranian positions in Iraq, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently during his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad.

The reason? Last September Iran allegedly deployed its short-range missiles in Iraq.

Kazakhstan boosts imports of Belgium-made goods
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Belgium-made goods
Azerbaijan to hold auction for shares of joint stocks companies
Azerbaijan to hold auction for shares of joint stocks companies
Georgia's electronics market shrinking
Georgia's electronics market shrinking
Loading Bars
Latest
Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar Oil Chemistry Refinery to buy valves via tender
Indian Shilpa Medicare signs deal to produce Sputnik V
Petrochemical plants to be put into operation in Iran
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Belgium-made goods
EU agrees partial truce with U.S. over Trump tariffs
Dubai eases COVID-19 restrictions, allows full hotel capacity
Azerbaijan announces 4M2021 investments in fixed assets
Azerbaijan to hold auction for shares of joint stocks companies
Azerbaijan announces tasks for using renewable energies in electricity production
Georgia's electronics market shrinking
Cargo transportation volumes surge in Kazakhstan
GPON-based technology being introduced in villages of Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Iran anticipates another JCPOA Joint Commission Meeting - MFA
No alternative to implementation of trilateral statement on Karabakh - Russian president
Azerbaijan preparing to vaccinate citizens with Russian 'Sputnik V' COVID-19 vaccine
Convention on simplification of customs procedures enters into force for Uzbekistan
Iranian Oil Minister talks about exports, contracts in oil sector
GSMA predicts growth in number of mobile service users in Azerbaijan by 2025
Polish company eyes producing packaging materials for automotive industry in Uzbekistan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 17
Weekly review of Georgian's capital markets (May 10 through May 14)
Azerbaijan continues military exercises, with extensive use of maps (VIDEO)
Iran’s trade turnover with UK announced
Kyoto Convention enters into force in Turkmenistan
Investment in Iran's industrial sector increases
Georgian microfinance organizations reveal data on their profits
SOCAR Ukraine resumes premium fuel sales
Turkmenistan introduces changes to customs system
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic sees annual increase in GDP
Train in Iowa hauling hazardous materials derails, catches fire
BTA announces extension of bicycle roads in Baku
Iran to determine condition of its joint oil fields with other countries
Armenian side reacting inadequately to process of clarifying border - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan reveals 4M2021 cargo transportation data
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Azerbaijan continues mine clearance in liberated lands
Saudi Arabia lifts quarantine requirement for COVID vaccinated foreign visitors
Three people killed after knife attack in Urals
FGP-WPMP implementation progresses at Kazakhstan’s Tengiz field
India's Cumulative Vaccination Coverage Crosses 18 Crore Mark: Centre
Azerbaijani Nakhchivan's 4M2021 manufacturing value of agricultural products grows
Crude production at Kazakhstan’s Tengiz revealed for 1Q2021
Investment proposal submitted for White Dragon project involving TAP
Georgia reports 504 new cases of coronavirus for May 17
Uzbekneftegaz updates electricity supply systems at Shurtan oil and gas production dep’t
Kazakhstan-Romania trade down amid COVID-19
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Iran shares data on trade turnover with US
Azerbaijan allocates funds for construction of school in Nij settlement of Gabala district
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana halting flights to Maldives
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan raises investments in fixed assets
Azerbaijan allocates funds for construction of highway in Gabala district
Iranian Oil Minister talks dev't of Iran-Saudi Arabia joint Farzad B gas field
President of Russia’s Tatarstan arrives in Turkmenistan
Azerbaijani troops involved in exercises occupy concentration areas (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's SOCAR to issue new bonds
French companies to develop tourism infrastructure of Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan reveals volume of industrial products produced at FEZ in 2020
Azerbaijani president calls his Kazakh counterpart
Revenues of Azerbaijani Nakhchivan from communication, information services grow
IRICA unveils data of Iran’s trade turnover with Germany
Kulevi oil terminal of SOCAR constructing new storage tank
SOCAR’s Black Sea Oil Terminal to handle bitumen products
Turkmenistan preparing state budget for 2022
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up
Netherlands contributes to development of agriculture sector in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan sees increase in 4M2021 foreign trade turnover figures
Development of innovations to boost Azerbaijan's technology export potential - AZINNEX
Iran discloses trade turnover with France
SOCAR’s Kulevi terminal sees increase in storage capacity
Volume of transshipment by SOCAR’s Black Sea Oil Terminal revealed
Azerbaijani Sumgayit Industrial Park's resident expanding exports
More Vaccines To Be Available In India In Next Two Months: AIIMS Chief
Second wave turns corner as daily cases fall for 7 days, Health News, ET HealthWorld
Vaccinated or not, ensure physical distancing, ventilation and mask up: Indian govt’s chief scientific advisor
Turkmenistan to launch special passenger trains between Ashgabat, Turkmenbashi
Average monthly salary in Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan up
Second Batch Of Sputnik V Vaccine Reaches India
Azerbaijan partially resumes full-time lessons at schools in several cities and districts (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for May 17
EIB allocates two tranches of loan for IGB project
25 more oxygen generators to reach India from Europe next week
Iranian currency rates for May 17
Azerbaijani currency rates for May 17
Kazakhstan’s KazTransOil opens tender for research work in oil&gas
Oil mixed in tight range, Asia's COVID-19 restrictions weigh on sentiment
Ryanair posts record annual loss, but says COVID-19 recovery has begun
Southern Gas Corridor’s expansion to depend on firm market demand
Satti rig’s upgrade complete for BP project in Caspian
Azerbaijan partially resuming traditional form of education
Azerbaijani, French FMs discuss situation on border with Armenia
Iranian Chamber of Commerce discusses potential of maritime and port sector
UNICEF Representative in Georgia receives coronavirus vaccine
Chinese city raises COVID-19 alert level in 4 neighborhoods
Iran receives 2nd delivery of Covid-19 vaccines through COVAX Facility
Belgian companies keep on being active on Azerbaijani market – ambassador
Kazakhstan reports over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases
Turkey registers 10,512 new COVID-19 cases
G7 urged to donate 'emergency' supplies to vaccine-sharing scheme
Brazil reports 1,036 more COVID-19 deaths
All news